GUANGZHOU, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- South China's Guangdong Province is planning to end the "laojiao" -- re-education through labor -- system within the year, according to the provincial judicial department Tuesday.
Guangdong has made preparation work to be the leading and exploratory region to stop the "laojiao" system, said Yan Zhichan, director of Guangdong Provincial Department of Justice.
If the system is abolished, re-education institutions will no longer receive people. Those receiving re-education through labor will be released after expiration, Yan said.
Public criticism of re-education through the labor system has grown.
In August, Tang Hui, a woman in central China's Hunan Province, was sentenced to 18 months in a labor camp after protesting and demanding tougher penalties for the seven men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her 11-year-old daughter.
Tang was released within a week following complaints from academics.
The national political and legal work conference in early January announced changes to the "laojiao" system, which will be pushed forward this year.
The re-education through labor system was approved by the top legislature and established in the 1950s to rectify social order.
Re-education through labor allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.
In Guangdong, most of those in "laojiao" institutions are drug addicts under compulsory rehabilitation and detoxification addicts, but not people accused of minor illegal behavior such as gambling and prostitution, Yan added.
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